• January 1, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Required Reading: Like Pulling Off a Band-Aid

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Inertia is a powerful force in the business world, because change can be intimidating when jobs and dollars are on the line. Leaders guide their organizations through transformation, overcoming reticence and resistance along the way, priming those organizations for success through innovation that only change can bring. In Rapid Transformation: A 90-Day Plan for Fast and Effective Change, Stanford professor Behnam Tabrizi, relying on 10 years of research into more than 500 leading companies including Apple, IBM, Nokia, and Procter & Gamble, introduces a method that demystifies fast, effective change and lays out a clear roadmap for achieving it. CRM magazine: Many businesses prefer to move at a slow, cautious pace. Why is a rapid transformation so important?
Behnam Tabrizi: Baby steps feel safer and can be conceptualized as evolution--or gradual, incremental change. However, in organizations, incremental change is effective insofar as all else is constant, and status quo is the goal. Although incremental change should be a routine part of any good manager's -- or leader's -- job, it promotes a parochial outlook and attitude in the rank-and-file if it becomes too routine. After a while, people show up to work to play rather than to win. Through incremental change, the thirst for out-of-box thinking is lost. CRM magazine: Why is a 90-day planning model effective? Tabrizi: In the 90-day model, change is holistic, meaning that every aspect of the business is diagnosed -- from culture, to strategy, to cost-cutting, to structure, process, IT, and values. Collaboration across the boundaries of an organization -- from geographies to functions -- improves the ability of the organization to create value, especially in a large corporation. Without changing holistically, an organization could overlook key synergies that could bring significant value to the organization. Early on in the 90-day effort, the transformation leader puts together a set of cross-functional teams, which diagnose the various organizational functions. The members of each of these teams include thought-leaders and employees who are enthusiastic about the effort. CRM magazine: What will readers find most interesting about your book? Tabrizi: If you are interested in how to quickly plan and implement a successful major change in your organization, for-profit or non-profit, this is a detailed step-by-step cookbook that guides you and your firm through it. Further, it is filled with lots of anecdotes and stories of recent successful change efforts of many well-known companies. Finally, at the heart of the book is a chapter on how these successful companies employed cross-functional rapid-response teams as an impetus for their successful transformation efforts, and a clear step-by-step roadmap for how to successfully employ these teams. Other Page-Turners:
  • Influence is the currency with which people achieve success and get what they want in their lives and professions. In Fire Them Up!, author Carmine Gallo reveals seven simple secrets for using your insight and core values to engage and inspire colleagues and clients, sell your vision, and communicate with confidence and charisma.
  • The latest installment in the Little Book series has arrived. In Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching!, the author delivers 32 principles of business and personal success. Tip No. 32.5 -- "If it has been working for 100 years or more, don't even think about changing it" -- deserves to be remembered even in this world of fast-changing technology. Just ask Coca-Cola how New Coke worked out.
  • Humans are creatures of emotion as well as intelligence, making decisions on what they feel even before they have a chance to think about the issue. Larry Pinci and Phil Glosserman join forces in Sell the Feeling to teach how to orchestrate positive emotional experiences for potential clients and customers, build emotional connections, and embody the "natural-born salesperson" -- even if you're not one.
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